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All TopicsForum: Not Diagnosed but Worried → Topic: Fibroadenoma

Topic: Fibroadenoma

Forum: Not Diagnosed but Worried — Meet others worried about developing breast cancer for the first time.

Posted on: Sep 6, 2013 09:48PM

eamurphy wrote:

I'm 17 and discovered a fibroadenoma in my breast when I was 13, but had it checked and reassured that it was benign 2 years later when I was 15. Three more were discovered at my last ultra sound 6 months ago, and since then they have been hurting me when I exercise, and no matter how much I am reassured there is always a small thought in the back of my mind that one of them could be cancerous. I'm also worried that the abnormal cell growth will raise my risk of breast cancer, especially because I have it on both my mother's and my father's side of the famliy. I'm thinking about having them removed as soon as I go into my next ultra sound and can schedule a surgery after finding out if I qualify. I would feel comfortable knowing they went undre a microscope and got a good look at them. What is your opinion?

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Sep 7, 2013 07:35AM jushavinfun wrote:

I was just dxs with this and I know the fear u r going through....I'm glad I had mine removed so I don't sit and think about it everyday but u must do what is right for u. If they r bothersome maybe u should talk to your Dr about the best option. Good luck to you and let us know how it goes.

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Sep 7, 2013 08:52AM Beesie wrote:

eamurphy,

- the fact that your first mass was identified several times by an ultrasound as being a fibroadenoma (ultrasounds are good at identifying fibroadenomas)

- the fact that you have multiple similar masses (that can happen with fibroadenomas), and

- the fact that you are a teenager (fibroadenomas are most common in teenagers and young women)

all strongly suggest that what you have are Juvenile Fibroadenomas.  Fibroadenomas have a distinct appearance on ultrasounds and often can be quite clearly identified.  So you really don't have to worry that you have breast cancer.  There is absolutely nothing that points to this.  Removing these lumps so that they can be analysed under a microscope is not necessary. 

Since this is a breast cancer discussion board, it's important that you understand that being a teenager with Juvenile Fibroadenoma is different than if a fibroadenoma were to develop in an adult woman. The concerns about whether the mass might be misidentified or whether it might be blocking the imaging on mammograms are concerns that are specific to older woman - those concerns don't apply in your case. Fibroadenomas can be 'simple' or 'complex'.  In teenagers, they are almost always 'simple' (and the ultrasound should be able to confirm this).  In older women, fibroadenomas may be 'complex' and that is another reason for concern.  So whereas a 40 year old woman with a large fibroadenoma might be well advised to have it surgically removed, that's not usually the recommendation when a teenager or young woman in her 20s develops a fibroadenoma. Keep that in mind as you read this board and hear from women here who've had fibroadenomas.  Your situation, as a teenager with multiple fibroadenomas, is different than the situation faced by woman who is older.

If your fibroadenomas were not bothering you, then it really would make sense to just leave them in place.  They are harmless and sometimes they shrink on their own.  And surgery comes with it's own problems - you will develop scar tissue in the breast which will show up on future screenings and could be confused with being a more concerning condition - which means that having the surgery could lead to the need for more biopsies down the road.

Your situation is more complicated however because your fibroadenomas are causing you discomfort.  So that would suggest that removal might be a good idea.  However because you have multiple fibroadenomas, it means that there is a greater risk that the surgery might distort the shape of your breast, and it means that after surgery, it's possible that more fibroadenomas might develop.  And there is also the issue about the development of scar tissue.

Is the doctor you are seeing about this a breast specialist?  If not, you definitely should see a breast specialist, or perhaps get a 2nd opinion from another breast specialist if you are already seeing one.  You really don't need to be worried about this being breast cancer, but if your fibroadenomas are causing you discomfort, that is something that you might need to deal with either now or sometime in the next few years. 

By the way, I had juvenile fibroadenomas too. I had my first fibroadenoma when I was 16.  It was huge and in those days they didn't use ultrasounds for breast diagnostics so my only option was to have it removed. My second fibroadenoma developed when I was 20.  I left that one in place until I was 24 and then decided to have that one out too, but only because it was just so large that it was bothering me.  I've had a couple of other biopsies on that breast in the years since - and I suspect that at least one, if not both, may have been caused by conditions that developed from the scar tissue.  So that's why I urge caution about unnecessary surgeries. 

All of this probably adds to your confusion but I hope some of it is useful information.

Dx 9/15/05, DCIS-MI, 6cm+ Gr3 DCIS w/IDC microinvasion, Stage I, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR- “No power so effectually robs the mind of all its powers of acting and reasoning as fear.” Edmund Burke